News

LeBron James headed back home

LeBron James headed back home

COMING HOME:LeBron James, seen here playing for the Cavaliers in 2010, is returning to the team where his professional career started. Photo: Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) – LeBron James tells Sports Illustrated he will sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The NBA’s biggest star made the announcement in a first-person essay published in Sports Illustrated, in stark contrast to his televised decision four years ago, for which he was heavily criticized.

During his time in Miami, James led a star-studded Heat team to two NBA championships and four Eastern Conference titles but Sports Illustrated’ s banner headline “I’m Coming Home” explained his decision to go back to Cleveland.

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 12.52.29 PM
LeBron James posted this to his Instagram account.

“Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up,” James wrote.

“I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.”

The Heat, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers had also expressed interest in signing James, who is widely regarded as the best basketball player on the planet.

The frenzy over the 29-year-old forward’s eventual landing spot was the biggest the NBA had seen since James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all signed contracts to team up in Miami in 2010.

James, who was on the losing end of a humbling five-game defeat by the San Antonio Spurs in last month’s NBA Finals, opted out of the final two years of his contract with Miami to become a free agent who could negotiate with any team.

“These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man,” James, who grew up in Akron, Ohio, said about his time with the Heat.

“I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.”

James, a 10-time NBA All-Star who was drafted first overall by Cleveland in 2003, has averaged 27.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game in 11 NBA seasons.

His decision to rejoined the Cavs is expected to dramatically shift the balance of power in the NBA with bookmakers reacting swiftly to the news.

Cleveland, which has never won an NBA title in 44 years of existence, was listed as the 4-1 favorite to win next season’s NBA while Miami blew out to odds of 50-1.

(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue and Gene Cherry)

Recent Headlines

15 mins ago in Entertainment

Fans campaign to #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend

Fresh
twitter

TRENDING ON TWITTER: An online campaign emerges calling for significant LGBT characters in superhero movies. But dissenters weigh in, too.

23 mins ago in Entertainment

Would you watch a Kardashian family movie?

Fresh
kardashians465492076332

Kim Kardashian and her family have reportedly been offered more than $100million to make their big screen debut.

32 mins ago in Entertainment

Cosby lawyers outline defense as case heads to trial

Fresh
25-overlay-7

Bill Cosby's lawyers have outlined the tough questions the accuser likely will face now that their client is heading to trial in a criminal sexual-assault case.

48 mins ago in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: ‘Chewbacca Mom’ and ‘Star Wars’ director J.J. Abrams take a drive

Fresh
19-overlay-7

Just three happy Chewbaccas having fun in a car together.

6 hours ago in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: May 25

ianmckellen730762491401

A look back on some of Hollywood's most memorable headlines.